Scoil Íde COVID-19 Response Plan
School Year 2022-2023
Reviewed on an ongoing basis
The Department of Health and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer have advised that there are no new requirements in respect of managing COVID-19.
That said, the COVID-19 response plan is a living document and will be updated in line with the public health advice as appropriate for primary and special schools. It may be reviewed and amended to take into account new guidance from www.Gov.ie, www.dbei.ie , www.hse.ie, www.hpsc.ie, www.hsa.ie; www.education.ie or agreements with education partners as appropriate for primary schools.
In line with the Work Safely Protocol, the key to maintaining a safe school requires strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between the BOM, staff, pupils and parents.
The assistance and cooperation of all staff, pupils, parents, contractors and visitors is critical to the continued success of the plan.
Scoil Íde COVID-19 Policy Statement
Scoil Íde is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our pupils. To ensure that, we have developed and updated the following COVID-19 Response Plan. The BOM and all school staff are responsible for the implementation of this plan and a combined effort will help contain the spread of the virus.
- continue to monitor our COVID-19 response and amend this plan in consultation with our staff
- provide up to date information to our staff and pupils on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and Gov.ie
- display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct handwashing techniques
- inform all staff and pupils of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical distancing requirements
- implement the agreed procedures to be followed in the event of someone showing symptoms of COVID-19 while at school
- provide instructions for staff and pupils to follow if they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during school time
- implement cleaning in line with Department of Education advice
- implement ventilation practices in line with DES advice issued during the summer of 2021
All school staff will be consulted on an ongoing basis and feedback is encouraged on any concerns, issues or suggestions.
Signed: Maureen Hobbins Date: 25/08/22
Signed: Ray D’Arcy Date: 25/08/22
Reviewing the safe operation of Scoil Íde
School management have reviewed our current processes to ensure that they include the following:
- Arrangements to keep up to date with public health advice, changes to and Department of Education updates;
- Displayed posters and other signage to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19 ● Updated the health and safety risk assessment
- Made necessary arrangements to limit access to the school to necessary visitors and maintain records of contacts to the school
- Reviewed the school buildings to check the following after any period of closure:
- Does the water system need flushing at outlets following low usage to prevent Legionella disease
- Have bin collections and other essential services resumed.
Please follow https://www.education.ie/en/ for updates.
Induction Training (to be completed by new staff)
All new staff will undertake and complete Covid-19 Induction Training prior to returning to the school building. The aim of such training is to ensure that staff have full knowledge and understanding of the following:
Latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health;
What to do if a staff member or pupil develops symptoms of Covid-19 while at school; Outline of the Covid-19 response plan.
Staff will be kept fully informed of the control measures in place in the school and their duties and responsibilities in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and will be updated with any changes to the control measures or guidance available from the public health authorities.
If a staff member is unsure about any aspect of the COVID-19 Response Plan, the associated control measures, or his/her duties, he/she should immediately seek guidance from the Principal, who is supported in this role by the BOM.
Deputy Principal, Tom Hartney will explain all measures to any substitute teachers who work in the school and provide them with the most recent version of Scoil Íde’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
Procedure for Returning to Work (RTW)
N/A at this time
Health and Safety Officer:
Principal : Ray D’Arcy
Responsibility for the development and implementation of the COVID-19 Response Plan and the associated control measures lies primarily with the Board of Management and the School Leadership.
Strong communication and a shared collaborative approach is key to protecting against the spread of COVID-19 in schools, and looking after the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and pupils. Adherence to the Work Safely Protocol will only be achieved if everyone has a shared responsibility in implementing the measures contained within the Protocol in their place of work.
If a staff member has any concerns or observations in relation to the COVID-19 Response Plan, control measures or the adherence to such measures by staff, pupils or others he/she should contact the lead worker(s) who will engage with the principal/BOM.
Scoil Íde has signage on display outlining the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and to support good hand and respiratory hygiene.
Signage is on display in prominent areas such as offices, corridors, staffroom area, classrooms and toilets.
Making Changes to School Layout
Physical distancing guidelines no longer apply
Health and Safety Risk Assessment
School Management have reviewed emergency procedures involving fire safety, first aid, accidents and dangerous occurrences to consider any new risks that arise due to the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
Any changes to the school's existing emergency procedures are documented and in the school’s safety statement. Management also reviewed the existing risk assessments to consider any new risks that arise due to the school’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
First Aid/Emergency Procedure
The standard First Aid/emergency procedure shall continue to apply in schools. In an emergency or in case of a serious incident, schools should call for an ambulance or the fire brigade on 112/999 giving details of location and type of medical incident
Infection Prevention Control Measures - To prevent Introduction and Spread of COVID-19 in Schools
One of the key messages to manage the risks of COVID-19 is to do everything practical to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 into the school. If infection is not introduced it cannot be spread. The risk of spreading the infection once introduced exists in all interpersonal interactions; pupil-pupil, teacher-teacher and teacher- pupil and must be managed in all settings.
A range of essential control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 virus and to protect the safety, health and welfare of staff, pupils, parents and visitors as far as possible within the school. The control measures shall continue to be reviewed and updated as required on an ongoing basis.
It is critical that staff, pupils, parents and visitors are aware of, and adhere to, the control measures outlined and that they fully cooperate with all health and safety requirements.
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a workplace or any setting is to practice physical distancing, adopt proper hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette and increase ventilation.
Staff should note that they have a legal obligation under Section 13 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to comply with health and safety requirements and to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues and other parties within the workplace.
How to Minimise the Risk of Introduction of COVID-19 into Schools:
School management will highlight the following key messages…
Stay at home if you are unwell.
The best way to keep all viruses out of school is to stay at home if you are unwell and until your symptoms have substantially resolved for 48 hours. Maintain a good standard of hand hygiene
Adhere to good respiratory etiquette
Ensure good ventilation arrangements
Continue to maintain good levels of cleaning
Symptoms of COVID-19
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it is important to know and recognise the symptoms of coronavirus (which includes the DELTA variant).
No member of the school community can come to school if they display any Covid-19 Symptoms, available here: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html
School management and staff will keep themselves up to date on Public Health information as this can be updated on a regular basis..
The school community will be informed of good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and safely into a nearby bin. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and Covid-19.
Staff and pupils should understand why hand hygiene is important as well as when and how to wash their hands. Staff will promote good hygiene and display posters throughout the schools on how to wash your hands.
- Hand hygiene will be achieved by hand washing or use of a hand sanitiser (when hands look clean).
- Use of hand hygiene facilities including wash hand basins will be managed so as to avoid the congregation of pupils and staff waiting to use wash hand basins and hand sanitisers.
- Children will use washing facilities after activities that are likely to soil their hands, for example playing outside or certain sporting activities as hand sanitiser does not work on dirty hands.
- Hand sanitiser dispensers are deployed at exit and entry points of schools and classrooms and care should be taken to clean up any hand sanitiser spills to prevent risks of falls.
- Classrooms are supplied with a soap that emulsifies easily in cold water should ● Wash hand basins, running water, liquid soap and hand drying facilities are provided in all toilets, kitchens and any food preparation areas.
- Hand washing facilities will be maintained in good condition and supplies of soap and towels will be topped up regularly to encourage everyone to use them. ● Hand sanitiser is suitable for use for hand hygiene when hands are not visibly soiled (look clean).
- Care will be taken to ensure that pupils do not ingest hand rubs/gels as they are flammable and toxic.
- Alcohol-based sanitiser will not be stored or used near heat or naked flame ● Young children should not have independent use of containers of alcohol gel ● Hand sanitisers for use against COVID-19 will contain a minimum of 60% alcohol..
Frequency of Hand Hygiene
Pupils and staff will perform hand hygiene:
On arrival at school;
Before eating or drinking
After using the toilet
After playing outdoors
When their hands are physically dirty
When they cough or sneeze
For advice from HSE on how to wash your hands the following link will be helpful: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/how-to-wash-your-hands.html
These guidelines will be revised in September 2021.
Not applicable at this time
The Department has published guidance setting out the practical steps for good ventilation in accordance with public health advice ‘Practical Steps for the Deployment of Good Ventilation Practices in Schools’ The guidance sets out an overall approach for schools that windows should be open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during break-times or lunch-times (assuming not in use) and also at the end of each school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. The guidance provides that good ventilation can be achieved in classrooms without causing discomfort, particularly during cold weather. The Department has also published guidance regarding how these practical steps measures can be supplemented and enhanced by the use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors.
The department guidance outlines that carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors can play a part in providing a useful general indication that areas/ rooms may not be adequately ventilated. They can enable occupants to become familiar with the impacts of activities, how to store weather and window openings on levels of good ventilation. In this regard, the Department is procuring a number of portable monitors that will be distributed to schools in August and September - between 2 and 20 at primary level. The monitors are portable and simple to use and will give a digital reading to inform strategies for optimizing ventilation in school.
Use of PPE
PPE will also need to be used at certain work activities or work areas. These might include roles such as:
- Performing intimate care
- Where a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified while the school is in operation ● Where staff are particularly vulnerable to infection but are not in the list of those categorised as people in very high risk groups, or may be living with people who are in a very high risk category
- Administering first aid
Where staff provide healthcare to children with medical needs in the school environment they will apply standard precautions as per usual practice.
Scoil Íde will provide medical grade masks in the KN95 / EN14683 category to all SNA’s and teachers and those staff by necessity that need to be in close and continued proximity with pupils with intimate care needs.
There is no requirement to wear face coverings or masks in Scoil Íde but people are free to do so and encouraged to do so if they so wish
Medical Grade Masks
Scoil Íde will provide medical grade masks in the EN14683 category to all SNAs and those staff by necessity that need to be in close and continued proximity with pupils with intimate care needs.
Wearing a face covering or mask does not negate the need to stay at home if symptomatic. Gloves
The use of disposable gloves in the school by pupils or staff is not generally appropriate but may be necessary for cleaning, intimate care settings and when administering first aid..
Aprons will be provided / available in certain circumstances including for intimate care needs or for staff assigned to cleaning an area where a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 was present.
The caretaker will clean common touch areas, all toilets, both staff rooms and hall furniture each day. He will also empty bins every day.
School cleaning will commence from 4pm each day with our existing cleaners. An additional cleaner has been hired with responsibility for cleaning/sanitising desks and chairs. Additional cleaning hours per week has been added to the cleaning schedule. DES Cleaning Guidance has been issued to cleaners. Cleaning rosters will be signed by cleaning staff each day.
All classroom doors, where practical, to be left open at drop off and collection times, to minimise touching of common areas. Chains have been attached to the doors to hold them open safely.
Disinfectant wipes have been purchased as noted previously. A packet will be left beside the photocopiers for staff members to wipe down the photocopier after use.
A disinfectant spray, Brill Blue, has been purchased for use for cleaning desks/chairs daily. This is a spray that disinfects surfaces but does not need to be wiped. This will significantly reduce the time that it will take to disinfect surfaces.
Here are the details:
Brill Blue is a cleaner and sanitiser. As the product is PH neutral it is safe to use on all surfaces and it is safe to use around sensitive skin, asthma sufferers or people sensitive to strong chemicals. Brill Blue can be sprayed onto surfaces without needing to be rinsed off. It will provide an exceptionally high rate of antibacterial action killing far above the usual 99.9% antibacterial products. It is effective against CoronaVirus, E Coli, MRSA and the NoroVirus among many other bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Dealing with Suspected Cases of Covid-19 Procedure
School staff will be informed of the HSE COVID-19 tracker app which assists Public Health for contract tracing purposes both in and out of the school setting.
A nominated member of the school management team (Principal / Deputy Principal) will be responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the protocol to deal with suspected cases have been adhered to.
If a pupil becomes unwell and is displaying COVID-19 symptoms outlined earlier in this Response Plan then the following will occur
- If a pupil becomes unwell in the classroom, the mainstream class teacher informs the Principal/ Deputy Principal.
- Masks are given to the child.
- Principal/ Deputy Principal/ escorts child to isolation area.
- Secretary telephones the child's parents.
- Facilitate the person presenting with symptoms remaining in isolation if they cannot immediately go home.
- The individual should avoid touching people, surfaces, and objects. Advice should be given to the person presenting with symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with the disposable tissue provided when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the waste bag provided
- If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick person is a COVID-19 suspect.
- The Principal / Deputy Principal remains with the child until the parent arrives. Adults remain outside the door.
- Offer water to the child and ensure the window and adjacent doors remain open to allow ventilation and for supervision/insurance purposes.
- Arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.
Procedure if staff member becomes unwell and is displaying COVID-19 symptoms listed
- The staff member contacts the Principal or Deputy Principal for assistance.
- If the patient is a mainstream teacher, the relevant SET Teacher will continue teaching his/her class.
- If the staff member presenting with symptoms is well enough to drive home, he/she may do so. Responsibility rests with the unwell staff member to make this decision.
- If the person is not well enough to drive home, arrange for him/her to be transported home by a family member, as soon as possible and advise them to inform their G.P. by phone of their symptoms. Public transport of any kind should not be used.
- Remain with an unwell staff member until a person nominated by the patient arrives to bring the patient home, always observing proper social distance.
- Offer water to staff members and ensure the window and door is open to allow ventilation.
- Carry out an assessment of the incident which will form part of determining follow up actions and recovery.
- Arrange for appropriate cleaning of the isolation area and work areas involved.
Impact of COVID-19 on certain school activities
Choir/Music Performance : all activities are allowed to take place once again.
All toys should be cleaned on a regular basis for example weekly. This will remove dust and dirt that can harbour germs.
Toys that are visibly dirty or contaminated with blood or bodily fluids will be taken out of use immediately for cleaning or disposal.
When purchasing toys staff have chosen ones that are easy to clean and disinfect (when necessary).
All play equipment will be checked for signs of damage for example breaks or cracks. If they cannot be repaired or cleaned they will be discarded.
Clean toys and equipment will be stored in a clean container or clean cupboard. The manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed.
At this time soft modelling materials and play dough where used will be for individual use only.
Cleaning Procedure for Toys
Wash the toy in warm soapy water, using a brush to get into crevices.
Rinse the toy in clean water.
Thoroughly dry the toy.
Some hard plastic toys may be suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.
Toys that cannot be immersed in water that is electronic or wind up will be wiped with a damp cloth and dried.
In some situations toys/equipment may need to be disinfected following cleaning for example: toys/equipment that pupils place in their mouths. Toys/equipment that have been soiled with blood or body fluids or toys where a case of COVID-19 has been identified.
If disinfection is required: A chlorine releasing disinfectant will be used diluted to a concentration of 1,000ppm available chlorine. The item will be rinsed and dried thoroughly.
Where possible pupils should be encouraged to have their own individual art and equipment supplies.
Electronics – Shared electronic devices such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards will be cleaned between use and consideration will be given to the use of wipeable covers for electronics to facilitate cleaning.
– To the greatest extent possible, instruments should not be shared between pupils and if sharing is required, the instruments should be cleaned between uses.
Shared Sports Equipment
– we will minimise equipment sharing and clean shared equipment between uses by different people
Hygiene and Cleaning in Schools
The Department of Education has provided additional funding to schools to support the enhanced cleaning required to minimise the risks of COVID-19.
The specific advice in relation to school cleaning is set out in the HPSC advice and is covered in the induction training.
Scoil Íde will be cleaned at least once per day.
Additional cleaning will be focused on frequently touched surfaces – door handles, handrails, chairs/arm rests, communal eating areas, sink and toilet facilities.
All staff will have access to cleaning products and will be required to maintain cleanliness of their own work area.
Under no circumstances should these cleaning materials be removed from the building. Staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect their work area before and after use each day.
There will be regular collection of used waste disposal bags from offices and other areas within the school facility.
Cleaning/Disinfecting rooms where a pupil/staff member with suspected COVID-19 was present
The room will be cleaned as soon as practicably possible.
Once the room is vacated the room will not be reused until the room has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry.
The Person assigned to cleaning will avoid touching their face while they are cleaning and will wear household gloves and a plastic apron.
Special attention will be paid to frequently touched surfaces, the back of chairs, couches, door handles and any surfaces that are visibly soiled with body fluids. Once the room has been cleaned and disinfected and all surfaces are dry, the room can be reused.
If a pupil or staff diagnosed with COVID-19 spent time in a communal area like a canteen, play area or if they used the toilet or bathroom facilities, then the areas will be cleaned with household detergent followed by a disinfectant (as outlined in the HPSC interim health advice) as soon as is practically possible.
Isolation area for a suspected case
Two isolation areas have been created. These are located in the main school building and another outside of the school hall. Chairs, tissues, hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks, waste bags, brown paper bags and a bin along with some wipeable reading material will be placed there and if the suspected case is a child, he/she will be supervised by the Principal/ Deputy Principal/ Health and Safety Officer. Nobody else may enter this area while a child is awaiting collection. It will be sanitised after the person leaves. Parents should contact GP and follow GP instructions. Contact must be made with the school office thereafter providing us with an update on the status of the child’s health before they can return to school.
Special Educational Needs
Additional considerations for those with Special Educational Needs
Children who are unable to wash their hands by themselves will be assisted to clean their hands using soap and water or a hand sanitiser (if their hands are visibly clean) as outlined previously.
Some children may have care needs (physical or behavioural) which requires the use of aids and appliances and/or medical equipment for example toileting aids, moving and handling equipment, respiratory equipment. Where cleaning of aids and appliances is carried out in the school it is recommended that a cleaning schedule is provided, detailing when and how the equipment is cleaned and the cleaning products to be used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
Staff have a statutory obligation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of their colleagues and other parties. The cooperation and assistance of all staff is essential to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 and to protect health and safety as far as possible within the school. All staff have a key role to play. In this regard and in order to facilitate a safe return to work, these duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Adhere to the School COVID-19 Response Plan and the control measures outlined. ● Complete the RTW form before they return to work.
- Must inform the principal if there are any other circumstances relating to COVID19, not included in the form, which may need to be disclosed to facilitate their safe return to the workplace.
- Must be aware of, and adhere to, good hygiene and respiratory etiquette practices. 12
- Make themselves aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and monitor their own wellbeing.
- Self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they display any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Not return to or attend school if they have symptoms of COVID-19 under any circumstances.
- Keep informed of the updated advice of the public health authorities and comply with the same.
- Cooperate with any public health personnel and their school for contact tracing purposes and follow any public health advice given in the event of a case or outbreak in their school
- Undergo any COVID-19 testing that may be required as part of mass or serial testing as advised by Public Health
COVID-19 related Absence Management
The management of a COVID-19 related absence will be managed in line with agreed procedures with the Department of Education at any given time.
Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programme
The Department recognises the need for school staff wellbeing and collective selfcare. Support for school staff wellbeing will be provided by Department Support Services including the PDST and CSL, as well as by the HSE’s Health Promotion Team. An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for individual staff members in schools. The aim of the Occupational Health Strategy is to promote the health and wellbeing of employees in the workplace, with a strong focus on prevention. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises the Employee Assistance Service and the Occupational Health Service. The Employee Assistance Service (EAS) is provided by Spectrum.Life under the logo of ‘Wellbeing Together: Folláinne Le Chéile’.
The EAS is a self-referral service where employees have access to a dedicated free-phone confidential helpline 1800 411 057 available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing advice on a range of issues such as wellbeing, legal, financial, mediation, management support etc. The service is also available via SMS, WhatsApp, e-mail, live chat and call back request. All points of contact for the service are qualified, accredited and experienced mental health professionals.
Where required, short-term counselling is available to employees and their families (over the age of 18 years and living at home). The EAS also provides advice and support to managers and delivers interventions to help them deal with health and wellbeing issues in the workplace.
Substitution and EPV days
Any unused EPV days from school year 2021-2022 can be carried over to the current school year 2022-2023
General information relating to the school year
Drop off and Collection Plan
Gates to the school will open from 8.45am.
Instruction begins at 9am.
No child may enter the school prior to these times. Classroom doors will open no earlier than 8.45am
Early collection / late arrival
If a pupil must be collected early or dropped to school late, the parent or guardian should call the secretary in advance of collection. Children will be escorted to their designated gate/ or collected by a member of staff.
Code of Behaviour
Pupils who breach rules/procedures detailed in this response plan will be dealt with in accordance with the school Code of Behaviour. Coughing/sneezing/spitting deliberately will be a breach of the code of behaviour.
Special Education Teaching
No restrictions apply but common sense is applied where necessary
Literacy Lift-Off / Supported Literacy Hour
This programme will return as normal
No adults should enter the building other than school staff. All meetings must be by appointment.
All visitors should enter Gate B and attend reception
The normal School Uniform Policy applies. We ask that children wear their uniform/tracksuit to school only and parents wash them regularly.
This will be used to facilitate PE lessons for all classes as per usual
These have returned as per a typical school year.
These will be arranged and will be subject to guidelines at the scheduled time of meetings
Office must be informed ahead of departure. Standard procedures apply
If a child has been advised to stay at home as they are isolating yet would otherwise be well enough to attend school, please contact the class teacher.
If the school should close again, Junior Infants to Second class will use Seesaw.Third to Sixth class will use Google Classroom. Zoom will be used for video calls.
The usual recycling bins will be used. Food waste should be brought home in pupil’s lunch boxes as usual.
Money will be collected via e payments as usual.
Fundraising activities are postponed until further notice. The Monster Raffle was postponed due to the school closure. We will inform you of how this will be worked out in due course.
The school buildings are available for rental subject to public health advice and guidelines at any given time.
Implementation and Review
The whole school community is responsible for playing their part in implementing this plan. The Board of Management will meet at the start of October to review this plan.
This policy was updated on August 25th and was reviewed on October 4th, 2022.
Signed: Maureen Hobbins Date: 25/08/22
Chairperson to the Board of Management
Signed: Ray D’Arcy Date: 25/08/22
Signed: Maureen Hobbins Date: 04/10/22
Chairperson to the Board of Management
Signed: Ray D’Arcy Date: 04/10/22